On the surface, most diabetes apps look the same. Actually, most look the same beneath the surface too.
You fill in forms multiple times a day to log food, insulin and blood sugar levels. You get a time-consuming and complex bolus calculator that doesn’t seem to give you the blood sugar you were expecting three hours later.
You spend your free time scrolling back through cluttered screens of graphs and lists. You may get a cute animated monster to make you feel slightly better at sharing your personal data.
You also get a report which you can pass to your healthcare professional. You may have a healthcare professional who takes the time to deep dive into your months worth of data for the full picture. If not, and especially if your HbA1c is not to your healthcare professionals liking, you are likely to be judged for your choices.
-“Maybe these diabetes apps aren’t really designed for you?
Quin is trying to change that. Below are 7 principles we adhere to so we’re not ‘just-another-diabetes-app’ that takes up your time and doesn’t help you.
1. Collaborating with people living with diabetes
The old approaches to diabetes aren’t working. A 90% failure rate to hit healthcare targets is not success. It makes little sense that this limited thinking has been driving the development of diabetes apps for years.
We can’t continue to tell people to follow the same broken rules through a digital medium and expect better results. We have an opportunity to build around the strengths of technology and the modern person with their increasing access to this technology.
At Quin, we take the time to truly understand people with diabetes. The old ways aren’t working so we need to rethink and find a genuinely new approach. This has to be done in collaboration with people with diabetes. Nobody knows more about diabetes than you.
Our research programme isn’t a clinical trial, done at the end of development and then never reviewed after release. We talk to you and people like you every single week. We learn about your life and your needs and we collaborate on our ideas and prototypes.
Every week, our ideas and app get better from the time we spend with you.
2. Frequent app updates
We research and develop new ideas at a fast rate. We’re constantly brainstorming before and after talking to people with diabetes. We observe how each version of our app is used and question our users for their thoughts and advice. These learnings inform our next release.
We will be pushing out a new release each month with new features and smart algorithm updates, not just bug fixes.
The Quin app you’re using now will feel so much more capable three months after your first use, whilst maintaining a familiar and welcoming experience.
3. Realistic levels of accuracy
Blood glucose monitors (BGM) aren’t precise. The standards governing them allow for within ± 15% of laboratory results at 5.6 mmol/L or more. So a 10 mmol/L reading could mean you’re anywhere between 8.50 and 11.76 mmol/L.
Continuous glucose monitors (CGM) like Dexcom G6 or Freestyle Libre don’t measure blood sugar but interstitial fluid. This creates a difference between the values a BGM and CGM will display, with the CGM often lagging behind by minutes. This lag can be increased in different scenarios, like during or after exercise.
Carbs, fats, protein and other macronutrient values for food and drinks are not precise numbers but averaged estimates. Your weighing of that chicken breast may be precise but the macronutrient make up of that chicken is likely to vary from the chicken you were eating last week. You may also eat the chicken faster or slower, adjusting the speed your body absorbs the macronutrients.
-“This may be information you already know. If not, it’s not written to scare you.
It’s to encourage you to assign the appropriate degree of weight to information and data when making decisions.
By focusing and pushing precision with diabetes management, we’re putting unnecessary pressure on people with diabetes and creating a system that allows for judgement when that precision is not met.
This doesn’t mean the Quin app disregards measurements. It means that the data we ask for and show uses an appropriate degree of accuracy. We won’t ask if your two pieces of toast are 24g, 26g or 28g of carbs. We only need to know if these two pieces of toast are similar to the other times you ate two pieces of toast.
When showing your blood sugar over the next 5 hours, we do not show a single line – which no one can determine – but a wider graph indicating how likely you are to be in a range of values. This is not information to judge yourself but as visual information to guide your next diabetes decision.
4. Your future instead of your past
Your data relating to diabetes is all in the past. Your blood sugar readings, your food and insulin and activity records, your patterns, illness and stress levels. That sounds obvious. Humans haven’t worked out how to predict the future exactly yet and so any data relating to the future is a best guess.
-“That doesn’t mean that you have to focus on the past.
Existing diabetes apps encourage you to spend your free time diving into the parts of your life that you can’t change. Responsibility and pressure is put on you to make sense of your past experiences despite there being dozens of data points missing which are impacting your outcomes. Even scientists cannot make sense of your past experiences completely yet.
The Quin app tries to focus on your diabetes decision-making now and how that may affect your future. We purposefully try to avoid features that allow you to spend time looking at the things you cannot change. We do that for you. We have expertise in data science and algorithms.
We are doing the research to take away some of the pressure on you. The Quin app will surface to you the most useful information at the right time so you can focus on your future, not your past.
5. Experience is important
Diabetes isn’t fun. We have no intention of making it fun. That doesn’t mean the experience of the devices you use can’t be good. In fact, it should be the best experience it can be for what it is. No one wants to be filling out forms, pressing tiny buttons or looking at cluttered screens full of conflicting and confusing information.
Quin has and will always put yourself, the user, at the heart of the app. The experience is designed for you to be in and out as fast as possible. If you’re spending more than a couple of minutes looking at Quin, then something is wrong and we’ll work it out and fix it. Those few minutes should also be smooth and seamless and inspire self-confidence in you as you manage the daily challenges of diabetes.
6. Trusting you, our user
People either forget or ignore that people with diabetes are looking after themselves almost every second of every day. The medical industry provides you with guidance as best they can but the limited amount of time you are able to spend with your healthcare professionals, along with the lack of personalised data about you and your body, has led to you being responsible for your own health.
We acknowledge this and have built an app around the experience and expertise you have in looking after yourself. We trust you to make the best decisions for you and your life. They may not be perfect decisions but, with the information you have available, they are the best decisions at the time.
The Quin app provides you with more useful information to help you improve your diabetes decision-making rather than trying to tell you what to do.
7. Build confidence and empower
Our goal is to build your confidence in managing diabetes. We hope as you do for a cure one day but we’re not sitting around and waiting for that day to come. We can help people now by making the day-to-day experience of living with diabetes easier.
We can empower you to decide your future. We’re not there yet but we’ve made a good start and we will be there soon. We know that because people like you are given a voice and are helping us develop the Quin app.